I’m a firm believer that networking should be done as much offline as it is done online. I belong to two regular networking groups – one weekly and one monthly, and then go to others periodically too. I find I pick up a lot of referrals this way from people who like to meet who they’re going to be doing business with, or who they will be referring to. This is how I began doing business before the Internet and I still am actively networking on a local basis regularly, over 20 years down the track.
Don’t get me wrong, I do get referrals online too, via networking groups and also via my website. But I have to say that many of my long-term clients have come from meeting face-to-face. I know there are some who say they’ve only built their business online and not through any other way, however I feel that this won’t apply to everyone and the reality is there are people local to where you live and work, who won’t know you exist, unless they meet you at a local networking event. Why is this? Because you have a smaller audience and a better opportunity of connecting with several of the people present at that time. Online you’re competing with hundreds or thousands of voices, but in a networking group there might only be 30-50 people present and you might be the only one who does what you do. This must surely provide better odds at picking up new clients.
What about you? Do you belong to any offline networking groups? And how have they worked for you?